Toronto Malls Vintage Old

What malls used to look like in Toronto

Since we've been taking an extended look at Toronto malls that could use something of an aesthetic update, it seems only natural that my latest dive into the archives explores what these places looked like when they were shiny and new. Inspired by both space age design and a love of the bucolic (think indoor gardens and fountains), few places are as evocative when it comes to nostalgia.

For the sake of context, I've added a few photos that pre-date the rise of mall culture in North America to show how much (and how quickly) things changed in the post-War period. These pre-1950s photos generally depict downtown department stores that, while big, are well integrated with their immediate surroundings in some capacity.

The obvious change that takes place when the true malls arrive is that they become vehicular destinations. One doesn't tend to walk by the mall on his or her way to somewhere else. Located on the outskirts of the city, these outlets are designed to service the growing suburban population who now travel almost exclusively by car to attend to their shopping needs.

The shift from what one might call the proto-malls of the 1940s and 1950s to those of the 1960s and beyond is the degree to which things move indoors. Rather than big plazas, shopping centres tend to become enclosed spaces where customers can presumably find everything under one roof.

1920s

Yonge Street Arcade

Toronto Arcade Yonge Street


Simpson's

Simpson's Building Toronto


The Eaton's Complex

Eaton Centre Toronto


1950s

Cloverdale Mall

Cloverdale Mall


Cloverdale Mall

Cloverdale Mall


Cloverdale Mall

Cloverdale Mall


Cloverdale Mall men's shop

Cloverdale Mall


Cloverdale Mall

2011519-cloverdale-1956--1.jpg


1960s

Unidentified Mall Etobicoke (suggestions?)

2011519-mall-1960s-unkown-s1464_fl0004_id0008-pr.jpg


Humbertown Mall

Humbertown Mall Toronto


Humbertown Mall

Humbertown Mall


Humbertown Mall

Humbertown Mall


Yorkdale (Simpsons)

Yorkdale Mall


Yorkdale

Yorkdale Mall


Yorkdale

Yorkdale Mall


Yorkdale

Yorkdale Mall


1970s

Yorkdale postcard

Yorkdale Mall Ad


Fairview Mall postcard

Fairview Mall Ad


Sherway Gardens grand opening (1972)

Sherway Gardens Grand Opening


The Eaton Centre

The Eaton Centre


1980s

The Eaton Centre

The Eaton Centre


Don Mills Shopping Centre

Don Mills Shopping Centre


See also:

Marked images from the Toronto Archives (series and fonds information at bottom).


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